No6 Clogs | different color, same style at No6
Eileen Fisher harem pants | I SOOO want that harem jumpsuit.
James Perse slub v-neck t-shirt
Balenciaga bag | mine is secondhand, new at Barney’s
First, thanks for indulging me and my April Fool’s joke. It literally hurt my heart to draw red x’s and lines across the new James Perse summer collection. Because of course, I want it ALL. Especially that tie-front skirt. TDF. Please don’t worry that I will ever stop loving James Perse.
Following on that, I joked with Simone at my JP store here that if anyone can get me to wear color, it’s James Perse. But of course, JP doesn’t produce a lot of color anyway, so I can always do his color (because it’s muted, and still rather neutral). And I totally fell for this wild rose color when it launched this spring, it was just a matter of finding the right piece for me in it.
Also, a note on the harem pants. I was browsing through the Eileen Fisher store here a few weeks ago, trying on a few things (REALLY wanted to try the harem jumpsuit, but they didn’t have it) and talking with the SA about harem pants. I mentioned just casually that I have a pair and was a little disappointed that they shrunk in length on me (after washing them according to the label instructions) so I don’t wear them as much as I would like. Without hesitation, she said “oh, just bring them back, I’ll exchange them out for a new pair.” Just like that. So I did – and this is the new pair; the “right” length on me now – or at least the length I wanted when I bought them. (I will definitely dry clean them from now on, no water will hit these babies!!)
As if they didn’t already, Eileen Fisher now has a customer for life (now I really need to invest in more pieces!). When I speak about “the perfect” clothing, etc., perhaps this is more what I mean? A combination of excellent craftsmanship (preferably made in the US) and even better customer service. With a price point commiserate with both. Honestly, while I was a little surprised that Eileen Fisher would offer to replace a pair of year-old pants with a new pair, they did the right thing. She insisted that they should not have shrunk if I followed the instructions (wash cold, hang/lay flat to dry), so by exchanging them, she simply stood by the company’s expectations for the garment.
Which, in my opinion, EVERY company should do. It’s up to us as consumers to expect that, and speak up when we’re disappointed with quality. I’ve done that with Everlane and they were very good about listening to feedback and exchanging or giving me credit back for a faulty garment. I’ve done it with James Perse, and I’ve taken things back to Anthropologie that shrunk even when I followed the instructions. Shoes I’ve purchased at Neiman Marcus or Max Mara that started showing wear when they shouldn’t have, I’ve taken back there to have sent out for repair at their own expense.
I’m pretty sure we should expect some level of quality and customer service at any price point, but the reality is it’s hard to find nowadays unless you ARE paying a premium. Then again, I don’t expect a lot out of my pieces from Zara or H&M, so I probably wouldn’t bother trying to return something there, because my expectations are lower.
An interesting question though, what do you think? What is your expectation from a retailer/brand after you purchase something? Does it depend on how much you paid for it? or if you bought it on sale?
I used to buy more from Eileen Fisher, and I had forgotten about what great customer service they have. I had a jacket from them that mysteriously developed a hole in the fabric–I hadn’t caught it on anything, just came from nowhere. Even though I’d bought the item from Macy’s and it had been almost a year, the Eileen Fisher store took it back and gave me a credit. J. Crew also used to have a very liberal returns policy if there was an issue with an item’s quality, even quite some time after purchase, but I also suspect they’ve gotten more conservative with that in recent years.
Definitely, the more I pay for an item, the better the customer service I expect. My expectations for the quality of the product and the service are different if I’m buying a $10 t-shirt on final sale from J. Crew versus a $500 jacket from Nordstrom.
Now, service in terms of assistance with making a purchase, that’s a whole other story. I’ve gone from the extreme of not being able to get attention from an SA to get a fitting room, to getting cornered by the personal stylist at Nordstrom, who interpreted my desire to try on a $400 Theory dress to mean that I would be willing and able to pay $500 for a Michael Kors top, $1800 for a Burberry jacket, and $600 for a dress at the same time…
When I first saw this OOTD photo, I thought you were smoking! I mean, you look great, but I thought you were literally smoking! 😉 That would have been another April fool’s joke, right?
Anyhow, yes, the more I pay for an item, the better customer service I expect. Unfortunately, since most of my clothes are purchased second-hand, there are virtually no return policies or guarantees. I’m fine with that; if something doesn’t work out, I just donate it to charity and bask in good karma. And when I buy an item made in Canada or the U.S., I do expect its quality to be better but that’s not always the case.
Laurel´s last blog post ..Things to do on holiday instead of clothes shopping
Grechen Reiter says
haha!! i can see how you would think that. it was very windy when i took the picture and i reached up to brush hair out of my face!! that’s how my fingers ended up there LOL
So interesting that you posted this today because I am having a love affair with Eileen Fisher this week. I tend to go back and forth with EF, either loving it or hating it…lately, loving it! I really love the way she has started designing things in a more youthful fashion, with more slender cuts. I just turned 34 and am a working professional mother to a two year old. I really love that I can piece together EF clothes in such a way that they are suitable for work or play, and that my friends who are more into trends always comment on how great things look. I guess that’s the whole point of how EF works…she is definitely into the “capsule” wardrobe thing. Similar to you, Grechen, I find myself trying to minimize more and more these days…in every aspect of my life. Quality in clothing has always been of paramount importance to me, and I certainly appreciate when things are made and manufactured in the USA. I had forgotten about how great EF’s customer service is. I now remember my mother purchasing a very expensive cashmere blend sweater a few years ago and bringing it back after seeing it pilled tremendously after just a few wears. She got a full refund. Pretty amazing, and certainly keeps a customer loyal. Outdoor brands like Patagonia have customer service like this, and according to them, it helps, not hurts, their profits (I worked for Patagonia while I was in college). Makes sense to me. I also appreciate keeping with classic styles that have some element to keep them current, but are wearable for years to come. I am so over constantly purging my closet of what is “dated”, and have such a strong desire for a tiny, awesome wardrobe!
That was a lot to read. Sorry! Am enjoying a cup of tea with my little one napping and a little internet perusal. Days off are the best!
Ooh…should share what I ended up with from EF this week. I got the sport sandals in camel (amazing!), a midi length pencil skirt in black, the boyfriend jeans, and a gray marled linen tunic tank. It was definitely an expensive day, but truly I can see I will wear these things for a long, long time, and also, everyday. I’m travelling with my son for a month overseas this summer, and have been working on that “capsule” collection.
I still have my eye on a few pieces…eek. I’m mad about the assymetrical jacket in red lory–it’s stunning on. $338 for a cotton jacket is just a bit too steep though. It’s not even water resistant! I am also coveting the denim jacket and a few of the fitted tank dresses. Oh, and a pair of black chiffon pants that are pleated at the waist and taper to a fitted cuffed zippered ankle. Gorg. Time to budget!
Lastly thought–EF is one place I don’t mind sometimes paying full price. I know the quality is good, pieces are usually made in the USA, and the good things sell out in small sizes, When I know I’ll wear something for a long time, it’s worth it to me…cheers everyone!
One more thought…EF in some ways reminds me of a more dressed up James Perse…right? I love JP, but do find some of the styles to be a bit too casual and laid back. I tend to be attracted to things that can be multi use (i.e. “work and play”), so it’s hard to justify spending a lot on a piece that is just for casusal days. I ordered the striped pencil skirt recently and ended up sending it back…it was a bit big in the waist, but emphasized my curves a little too much. Too bad- loved the fabric and the length! Some of the fitted JP styles are really lovely, but they usually accentuate more than I want them too! I am tall and slim, too. Go figure…
I’m really happy to hear that you like the EF shoes, Lala. I’ve got my eye on a pair of wedge sandals, and I wondered about the quality (figured it was good) and the fit (I’ve got wide feet and sort of between a 10.5 and 11), so any fit info you can add would be great.
As a former SA, myself, I feel like I should get excellent customer service whether I’m in Old Navy or Saks. I took pride in my work, in going the extra mile for my customers, and giving them the BEST service I could, tailored to suit them. I don’t believe that good service should be an anomaly, but rather, the norm. Do I find that? Not most of the time, but I DO find certain places are more consistent than others. I’ve found that Eileen Fisher and J Crew give me great service across the board. I always thought that providing great customer service led to a “relationship” with my customers, which benefitted both of us. I know that I have certain SA’s that I seek out because of how much they’ve helped me.
As for returns, I’ve found that most places have tightened up their policies. I think that Kohl’s and Eileen Fisher are the only ones I’ve heard of to take returns after such a long period! But that’s great, and the RIGHT thing to do, as you pointed out, Grechen.
The shoes seem great- I’ve heard nothing but good things (these are the first I’ve purchased). I am a true size 9 and found the 9 in the sport sandals to be a perfect fit. My feet are an average width, certainly not narrow, and these are great. I have a high arch, so I am counting on the leather straps across the top of the foot stretching with wear. The leather is incredibly soft, so imagine this will be the case. So many cute wedges!
Agreed! It is the right thing to do. I think a big part of the reason that return policies have become stricter is that people have taken advantage. I return a lot (I like to try things at home with my own clothes), but I also try to return things as quickly as possible and would never return something I had worn unless it was defective or not satisfactory. There are plenty of people out there (unfortunately) who think nothing of wearing something and then returning it.
Grechen Reiter says
loved reading that 🙂
i’ve been thinking a lot about EF shoes – there’s always a few that i really like, but can’t quite bring myself to buy. i don’t know why.
and to your other comment, yes, EF is a bit like james perse, but more grown up and/or dressy i think. i might have even said that before…and maybe that’s why i don’t end up with a lot of EF!!! LOL – that, and i find a lot of her pieces seem to run a bit big. they’re also expensive and don’t seem to go on sale as often as JP. but i’m definitely getting more into her pieces, and i love that they are so timeless, but still very modern looking…
I just peeked at the EF Sport Sandal…Cute!!! I’m hooked on the Cage Wedge Sandal, but they are expensive. I guess it goes back to Made in the USA, fair wages (Eileen Fisher employees are consistently rated as some of the happiest, best cared for in the country) and quality. I’m doing Laurel’s fashion math and it computes!
And I think you said the key words for me: “Modern looking,” and clean lines.
The wedges are really cute! I haven’t worn the sport sandals yet, but I think they were worth full price, at least for me. They are insanely comfortable and seem like great quality…they’re also really flattering. My plan is to wear them on our trip and all summer long…it’s also good to know that if there is a problem with them (i.e. zipper on the heel breaks, etc.), EF stands behind them. I also agree with Laurel’s “fashion math”!
Eileen Fisher definitely runs big. I am usually a US size 6/medium across the board, and I buy xs and s in EF pieces. I can imagine that unless one is buying petite sizes, it can be hard to find a good fit…I’m definitely not an xs or s in most designers!
EF is more dressy for sure. I feel like it’s easier to dress up or down, which helps me. I think a big part of this is because I work in a professional capacity. A lot of the JP styles look like they can be dressed up or down, but somehow in my world, it doesn’t work. The very fitted skirts and dresses are awesome and sexy, but I don’t want to draw that kind of attention to myself at work (or on the playground!).
Both JP and EF are quite expensive. Even with being made in the USA, I do think the prices are high. Prices seem to be high everywhere these days when it comes to clothing, shoes and accessories. That being said, I do think that JP and EF can both be found on sale because they are sold at so many bigger stores, and online. Just today I noticed that Bloomingdales is having a Friends and Family 20% promotion, which would be a 29% discount for me over paying for EF in the local store, as I have to pay tax. Not an amazing sale, but every little bit helps!
Clearly I have too much to say on this topic. 😉
Last comment from me–I promise! I just read this article in NY Mag about Eileen Fisher…interesting read. http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/03/i-cannot-lie-i-love-eileen-fisher.html I think the author hit the nail on the head talking about how people in particular professions are drawn to wearing clothes that look effortless and don’t draw too much attention…I fall into the category and it’s spot-on. It also compares EF to Celine and The Row which makes sense in theory, though I’d say it’s a very different customer base!
I own a lot of Eileen Fisher clothes, most of which I’ve bought on eBay. Of course, for a fraction of their ridiculous retail price. Their incredible customer service doesn’t surprise me. I’m glad that you finally found a pair of harem pants that fits. I’m still searching for mine!
Grechen Reiter says
loved this article – i do “see” the comparison, but you’re right, it’s a totally different customer base. i LOVE the row, and of course what i love about it is that everything is so minimal, but also beautiful. i do not love the prices, and wonder if they’re really justified…
The Row prices are definitely not justified. I appreciate what they are doing (manufacturing a designer/luxury line in the USA), but the prices are insane.
For the longest time, I thought EF was baggy old lady clothing. Then I grew up (?!ha) and started finding pieces in thrift stores that I fell in love with…..I haven’t fallen in love with them enough to pay full price in the store, but maybe some day. I still find many of the tops to be too baggy for me – I am short and have an hourglass figure – and I just don’t like the way my body is obscured in some of the pieces.
Trick one of my co-workers told me about – there’s a Macys in a not-as-nice neighborhood near work. They don’t sell EF at that location, BUT it gets returns from some of the newer & nicer area Macys – and they are marked DOWN. Adds a certain spice to bargain hunting 😉
Grechen Reiter says
haha!! that is a great tip kelly!!
yes, i find most of her tops to not work very well on me, but i keep trying 🙂
i did try on the cone-heel sandals today and i NEED THEM. here’s hoping my shoes sell so i can get them. so comfortable, and pretty chic if i do say so myself…